He said that he didn’t think much about it for a long time.
Then something brought it up.
Note: This story is a story. It has other parts.
I’ll tell them if I have to.
If Audubon had been
a different sort
he wouldn’t have seen
the patterns in the flocks
how pigeons could look like waves
rolling in the sky
What is it that makes us want to write down the way
that the shape of a single tree can remind us of all the names we call God?
Those old mapmakers
died trying to explain
that it was treacherous
to see the ice rise up
and to hear how it squealed
against the sides of the ship
that there was no fairness
in any of it, only stories to be told about how they saw the world in constellations drawn by cartographers
of the most quiet
and bold sort
When the world was new, every single thing beyond the horizon was unknown
and the way the snakes gathered across whole acres was a terrible and wondrous thing to behold.
Those plains in Argentina, they belonged to the snakes.
The thrill that came from crossing into windblown worlds of slithering and feathered things
of tooth and nail
and the strange human wailing
of the women who sing
that they love dies…
Well, it just had to be written down, those new lines
between animal and human, boundaries re-penned, with conquests etched into skin and stone
writ by bone
ash from so many fires
Oh, the terrible thrill
that you could be there, to see and to hear
that you put yourself there
or were put there
as an arrow on a chart
you did not draw
To know though, that you are a very special sort of man, to go such places, to have such a deep human curiosity about what it might feel like
to walk in
to take a world
that isn’t ours
because it’s just so
the things to be seen
in the branches
Do people with adventuresome blood lose their minds when they can’t explore?
Do their hearts grow stolid and break when there seems to be nothing new to discover, do they feed their souls on the meager offerings of crocus in the late-snow, how it is such a remarkable thing, that shade of purple bursting out of all that frozen water?
And in the meantime, there is a man driving down the coast
and wondering if he should’ve
pulled the trigger
and if he should have told her
that he was that sort of man?
The syntax of symbols
meant nothing under lights
shaped like full moons
in the indoors
as she explained,
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
As she said this, she no longer knew if it was true.
She asked, “Is it really fair?”
It was an impossible question to answer, given the sort of man he was and the sort of man he was not.
The question is whether or not being a bee in someone’s bonnet is the best way to encourage a shift in consciousness or to make an appeal to ethics. It’s bothersome, especially when situations are complex and people’s sense of personal integrity gets dragged into it.
People get defensive. The bee is a nuisance.
Who listens to nuisance?
In the meantime, I have been daydreaming again about that period of time when I was pretty sure I was establishing something about the origins of written language on the basis of cloudforms.
I feel like I made a wrong turn somewhere.
I want to get back there, to where I was with that belief.
A belief like that changes the world, at least for the person who believes.